Part two of the Half & Half Series about the experience of my interracial family — this time from my daughter Savannah!
In Her Words: Savannah – 24
“During times like these, being biracial holds a strange power. I can barely relate to the feeling of being scared as I walk down the street, but then again, if I really think about it, I hold some of that fear, but not much.
Growing up biracial, people didn’t always see me as mixed. Depending on the situation I was in, and who I was with, they decided my ethnicity. Sometimes I was White and sometimes I was Black to my peers.
In negative situations, I was always Black to my peers. I’ve been looked down upon by teachers in an all-White classroom and I’ve also been held to a higher standard than those who are fully Black.
I’ve heard many racial slurs followed by “You can’t take offense because you’re not fully Black.” I have encountered racism by people who didn’t think they were being racist because I am White.
I’ve heard the question “what are you” more than anything else in my life. It’s like it is on constant repeat whenever I meet someone. Do you know how degrading that question feels?
I understand that some people may mean well when asking me that and they are genuinely curious. I believe because of white privilege and entitlement, they don’t ever stop and consider that it might be hurtful.
I find these situations difficult because it makes me want to stand up for my blackness and still understand that I, too, have some amount of white privilege. I am responsible for uniting people, I am a unity of the two races that fight the most.
I’ve grown up hearing that some of my extended family has racist tendencies (whatever that means) or is racist, and that’s difficult to cope with and to handle. I don’t know if I’m loved for me or if it’s because I am their son’s child.
I am proud to be biracial and I am proud to educate those who don’t understand their white privilege. I’m still learning how to understand mine. I know it exists, but not how much.
Being a biracial woman has led men to sexualize me more too. There seems to be a fantasy with mixed-race women because we are the “the best of both worlds,” which is incredibly offensive.
All in all, I think biracial people hold the most power in uniting this country because we see both sides. Yes, sometimes we fear for our lives but, other times, depending on our level of being light-skinned we don’t have to worry about being killed just for walking down the street.
I stand with my Black family and I stand with my White family. It is important for White people to see their privilege, to understand their privilege, and to do something positive with it. It’s also important for Black people to know that all White people aren’t a threat.”
You can read Part One here.